Head coach Jayson Roberts has more wins than any coach in Titan history. Roberts is still looking to lead his program to some new heights this upcoming fall, hoping to make an appearance in the state championship game, and attempting to win their first championship as well.
The 2020 season had a lot of potential, however with early struggles due to injuries and players in quarantine the Titans started off the season 2-3. Two of those games were lost by a combined 4 points. Instead of hanging their heads, Tech went on an impressive run, rattling off 6 straight victories before falling to Bloomingdale 36-33 in the 7A quarterfinals. They would finish the year 8-4.
This upcoming season has potential to be a special one if the Titans can stay healthy. For Coach Roberts, going into his 11th year with an 80-38 record, there is a lot of optimism that this program can accomplish something that has never been done before.
The Titan offense was a special group in 2020 as they dominated opponents. They averaged 37.4 points per game while putting up 407.4 total yards a game. Against Riverview, they put up an incredible 75 points. Through the air, they averaged 280.8 passing yards a game while rushing for 126.7 yards.
Replacing a quarterback such as David Wright (Allen) who threw for 34 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards in a season is never going to be something easy to do, but that’s exactly what 2023 Charles Coney (6’2” 200 pounds) is going to have to do. Coney has a great frame to go along with tremendous arm strength, especially on the move.
Joining Coney in the backfield will be 2022 running back James Evans IV (5’11” 200 pounds) who is another big body that will be looking to have a bigger role in the offense this year. Evans is a willing blocker in both the passing game, where he does a great job at protecting his quarterback and the run game if he needs to be a lead blocker. When Evans runs the ball he is a tough ball carrier to bring down.
The receiving core for the Titans has one of the best players in the state in 2022 Greg Gaines (6’2” 185 pounds), making it easier for Coney to transition into the starting role. Gaines is an Iowa State commit who led the state last year in touchdown receptions with 13. Gaines has incredible releases mixed with great route running to go with elite track runner-like speed, making him a nightmare for opposing defenses. He is also a jump ball machine with an out-of-this-world vertical. Also, don’t think that once Gaines catches the ball that he is easily going to go down, as he is just as much of a threat in the open field with the ball in his hands. Once Gaines gets in a Cyclone jersey and begins his career in Ames, the whole nation will be put on notice. Also, look out for 2022 John Ponder (5’9” 160 pounds) in the slot as he is a speedy receiver who can make things happen.
The offensive line will be led by 2023 Kai Gibson (6’3” 290 pounds) who does a great job at using his big frame to hold his ground in the passing game, while also planting defenders in the run game.
The Tech defense did what they needed to do, which is hold opponents to under 20 points and let their offense carry the way. They gave up an average of 18.3 points per game and did a fantastic job of forcing turnovers with a total of 21.
The defensive line has some serious talent to go along with young guys looking to make a name for themselves. This group will be led by 2022 Keyon Clark (6’1” 225 pounds) who has 4 offers which include 3 MAC schools and Marshall. Clark is strong and does a good job at staying low off the ball to give him leverage to beat blocks while also having great pursuit which has led to forced fumbles. The junior class has two future studs in 2023’s Donteye Drew (6’2” 275 pounds) and Jaheim Borden (5’10” 280 pounds). Drew is a big body who uses his hands well, while Borden has a great swim move and does a good job of pursuing the ball.
The linebacking core will be led by two players who give incredible effort in 2022 Jaydn Church (6’ 205 pounds) and 2023 Edward Gwinn (6’1” 205 pounds). Church, who has the outstanding pursuit of the football, does a good job at securing the tackle and has a good rip-through technique that allows him to get by bigger offensive linemen. Gwinn does a tremendous job of timing up his blitzes and for his age has good size that allows him to out-muscle the competition.
The Tech secondary has two studs within it. First, is Arkansas State commit 2022 Michael Boone (6’1” 175 pounds) who can stay in phase with any receiver in the state, which allows him to be a lockdown corner for the Titans. Boone has great speed, and if he does get his hands on the ball can make a play out of it. Starting at safety will be 2023 Norris Davis (6’2” 180 pounds) who has 5 offers from schools such as Penn State, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Davis flies around the field to deliver big hits that give his team momentum. Davis also has good hips which allow him to break on the ball well in coverage.
2021 Season Outlook
The Titans will start their season with a big-time matchup when they host Plant City on August 27th. Following that, Tech will have back-to-back games against two tough opponents in Gaither and Armwood, both of whom are becoming powerhouse programs within the state of Florida.
If Tech can navigate through a difficult schedule and find a way to stay healthy, they will be making noise when it comes to playoff time.